How to Install Vinyl Siding? – Vinyl Siding Installation Guide

May 13, 2023
May 13, 2023 admin

If you’re considering a home cladding renovation project that will give your property a fresh, modern look while boosting its durability and energy efficiency, installing vinyl siding might be the perfect solution.

Vinyl siding is a popular cladding choice among homeowners due to its low maintenance requirements, affordability, and versatility in design options. But, how to install Vinyl Siding?

This complete guide will help you install vinyl siding on your home, from the initial planning stages to the finishing touches. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a first-time homeowner, we’ve covered you with step-by-step instructions, tips, and tricks to make your vinyl siding installation successful.

Can I Install Vinyl Siding Myself?

Yes, it is possible to install vinyl siding with a DIY process. However, it is important to note that installing siding requires a certain level of skill and knowledge and can be time-consuming and physically demanding. If you are comfortable with using tools and have some experience with DIY projects, installing vinyl siding on a small project, like a shed or garage, may be achievable.

Before starting a DIY siding project, it is recommended to research and learn the proper techniques, tools, and materials needed for the job. There are many online resources available, including instructional videos and step-by-step guides.

tools for installing vinyl sidingVinyl Siding Installation Tools and Materials

Here’s a list of tools and materials you need to use to install vinyl siding:

  1. Vinyl siding panels: These are the main component of your vinyl siding system. They are made of durable, weather-resistant PVC and are available in different colors and textures to suit your preferences.
  2. Starter strips: These strips are used to secure the first row of siding panels at the bottom of the wall. Starter strips are typically made of metal or vinyl and have a downward-facing lip to hold the panels in place.
  3. J-channel: This trim is used to frame doors, windows, and other openings in the wall. It is also used to secure the cut edges of siding panels.
  4. Corner posts: These posts are used to cover the corners of your house and provide a finished, professional look to your siding installation. You can find corner posts for vinyl siding installation in various sizes and shapes to fit the design of your home.
  5. Nails or screws: You will need these fasteners to attach the siding panels and other components to your wall. It’s important to use the right type of fastener for your specific siding product, and to ensure they are long enough to securely attach the panels to the wall.
  6. Siding removal tool: If you’re replacing old siding, you’ll need a removal tool to pry off the old panels without damaging your wall.
  7. Circular saw or snips: These tools are used to cut the vinyl siding panels to the correct size and shape. A circular saw is recommended for larger cuts, while snips are useful for smaller, more intricate cuts.
  8. Level: This tool is essential for ensuring that your siding installation is straight and level. You’ll use it to check the alignment of each panel as you install it.
  9. Tape measure: You’ll need a tape measure to take accurate measurements of your wall and the siding panels to ensure a proper fit.
  10. Ladder: If your home has a considerable height, you may require a ladder to access the upper sections of the wall and install your siding securely.
  11. Siding clips: These small, plastic clips are used to secure the top of each siding panel to the wall. They help prevent the panels from sagging or buckling over time.
  12. Housewrap: This is a moisture barrier that is installed between the wall and the siding. It helps to prevent water from penetrating the wall and causing damage.
  13. Foam board insulation: If you’re looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home, adding foam board insulation under your vinyl siding can help. This material is installed between the wall and the siding to provide an extra layer of insulation.
  14. Zip tool: This specialized tool is used to unlock and remove vinyl siding panels from their locking mechanisms. It’s particularly useful if you need to remove a panel that’s already been installed.
  15. Siding punch: This tool is used to create holes in the siding panels for mounting lights, fixtures, or other accessories.
  16. Safety gear: When working on a vinyl siding installation, it’s important to wear appropriate safety gear to protect yourself from injury. This may include gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask.

Each of these tools and materials is essential for a successful vinyl siding installation. By gathering everything you need beforehand and familiarizing yourself with each tool’s purpose, you can ensure a smooth and efficient installation process.

vinyl siding installation processFirst, Do You Know What You Put Under Vinyl Siding?

Before you learn how professionals and DIYers install vinyl siding, you need to know what lies beneath these durable cladding systems.

1. Sheathing: This is a layer of material, usually made of plywood, OSB, or foam insulation board, that is attached to the exterior wall framing. It provides a flat, even surface for the siding to be installed on and helps to improve the energy efficiency of the home.

2. Housewrap: This is a moisture barrier that is installed over the sheathing to prevent water from penetrating the wall and causing damage. It helps to keep the home dry and protects against mold and mildew.

3. Flashing: This is a thin, waterproof material that is installed around windows, doors, and other openings in the wall to prevent water from seeping in. It helps to direct water away from the wall and prevent water damage.

4. Insulation: Depending on the climate and the age of the home, there may be insulation installed under the sheathing or between the wall studs. This helps to improve the energy efficiency of the home and keep it comfortable year-round.

5. Vapor barrier: This is a layer of material that is installed on the warm side of the insulation to prevent moisture from penetrating the wall and causing damage. It helps to keep the home dry and protects against mold and mildew.

6. Framing: The wall framing, usually made of wood or metal, provides the structure for the wall and supports the weight of the sheathing and siding.

Install Vinyl Siding: Step-by-Step Process

Now it is time to learn how to install vinyl siding like a pro. Just follow the steps below and you are good to go.

Step One for Vinyl Installation

It is crucial to begin the installation of vinyl siding by addressing the soffit. In order to cover the exposed ends of the soffit where it meets the fascia, it is necessary to fasten strips of J-channel along the inner edge of the fascia board.

During the installation of vinyl siding and soffit, it is crucial to nail at the slot centers to enable expansion, while keeping the nail heads out by 1/32 to 1/16 inch. It’s recommended to avoid nailing the siding and soffit pieces too tightly.

In case of a box soffit or hip roof, it is essential to attach a second strip of J-channel to the edge of the soffit where it meets the house and then nail it.

If your home doesn’t have a boxed soffit return but has soffit plywood attached to the bottom of the ceiling joists, you may not need the inner channel. Instead, you can conceal the ends of the soffit lengths later using the utility trim of the vinyl siding. While you should take into account the angle of the soffit, it’s generally recommended to use both channels to be safe during the vinyl siding installation process.

Step Two of Vinyl Cladding Installation

When installing vinyl siding, if the soffit of your home wraps around a corner, such as in the case of a hip roof, it’s necessary to make some arrangements to account for the change in direction of the soffit material at the corners.

To adapt to this change in direction, it’s advisable to secure two J-channels diagonally between the house corner and the roof corner during the vinyl siding installation process. This will help to hold the soffit material in place. After the J-channels are nailed, cut the initial soffit sections to fit the angle and then add subsequent sections in both directions.

It’s important to note that where existing soffit vents are located, you should remove the vents and install vented soffit material during the vinyl siding installation process to ensure proper ventilation.

Step Three of Vinyl Siding Installation

Custom-cutting each soffit piece to fit the span of your home is necessary during the vinyl siding installation process as they are typically sold in 12-foot lengths. 

After installing the diagonal corner pieces, it is advised to cut the remaining soffit lengths 1/4-inch shorter than the maximum span and then press them into the channel during the vinyl siding installation process.

When installing vinyl siding, it may be necessary to bend the soffit pieces to fit or gently pry back the channel for better access. To ensure structural integrity, it’s crucial to take your time and ensure that each piece fits correctly.

Step Four of Installing Vinyl Cladding

After installing the soffit during your vinyl siding installation, the next step is to remove the gutter and slide preformed lengths of fascia.

It is important to nail the upper portion of the fascia with care during the vinyl siding installation process, using either 4D galvanized or pre-painted nails. However, it is important not to use too many nails. Only a few nails every few feet will suffice.

To join fascia pieces in the corners during vinyl siding installation, it is recommended to extend slightly beyond the original eave fascia and butt the intersecting gable fascia against this extension.

Finally, replace the gutter to complete the fascia installation.

It is worth mentioning that although the above-mentioned process for fascia installation is suitable for many homes during vinyl siding installation, for homes with intricate or decorative trim, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional who can create and fit custom-made aluminum components to achieve a flawless and visually appealing finish.

Step Five of Vinyl Installation

To start the vinyl siding installation process, it’s important to first loosen or remove any easily detachable objects, such as porch lights, address plates, handrails, and self-storing clothesline reels.

After removing the obstacles, the next step is to measure the distance from the eave to the bottom of the existing siding. If this measurement is divisible by 8 inches, which is the standard finished width of a vinyl siding piece, you can proceed with the installation without making any adjustments.

During vinyl siding installation, the top edge of the last full-width row of siding can be accepted by the utility trim installed under the eave. If you’re using Dutch lap siding, which resembles two courses of siding in a single panel, you’ll have two options to do this at 4- and 8-inch intervals.

To ensure a neat and even appearance, it’s important to properly position the metal starter strip for your vinyl siding. You can raise or lower the strip slightly to adjust the placement of the top pieces. If necessary, use J-channel at the top instead of utility trim to hold the last cut row of siding in place.

Prevent the row from collapsing against the house by nailing a strip of plywood against the J-channel. After deciding on the ideal height for the starter strip, mark the position on the walls and snap a chalkline around the entire house. 

To ensure the bottom of the first row of siding is held out, nail a strip of plywood above the measured line and then attach the starter strip to this plywood using nails.

Step Six of Installing Vinyl

To ensure a neat finish and protect against water infiltration, it’s important to properly trim the corners of your vinyl siding. Start by nailing strips of 1/2-inch rigid-foam sheathing to both sides of the corners. This provides a flat surface for the corner trim to be nailed into and also helps to insulate the corners. Then, nail the corner trim over these strips, taking care to keep the trim level and flush with the siding. Be sure to use galvanized or stainless steel nails to prevent rusting over time.

Step Seven of Vinyl Installation

Once the insulation is in place, it’s time to start installing the siding. Begin with the first piece, making sure to measure it accurately to fit the space between the vertical trim pieces. 

Cut the siding piece to the proper length, leaving a 1/2-inch gap on either side for expansion. Then, nail the siding into place, ensuring that the nails are in the center of the nail slots and not driven in too tightly.

After the first piece of siding is installed, you can move on to the next piece and repeat the process. It’s important to make sure each piece is level and properly secured before moving on to the next one to ensure a professional-looking finish.

Step Eight of Installing Siding

To install each siding piece, first snap it into place with the bottom lip hooked under the starter strip. Slide it into the corner and secure it with nails spaced around 16 inches apart. Ensure that the nails are centered in the slots to allow for expansion.

Step Nine of Installing Vinyl Cladding

To join two lengths of siding, overlap them by around 1 inch. Consider the angle from which the lap will be viewed to decide which direction to overlap. For instance, if the walkway leading to the front door is from the left, overlapping the left siding over the right one will make the lap less noticeable.

Step Ten of Vinyl Installation

For decks attached to a wall, maintain the starter-strip height on both sides and trim siding to fit above the deck. Install the first row of siding on both sides of the deck, measure up 8 inches, and trim around the deck door. Use door and window trim that accommodates 1/2-inch insulation board and siding. 

Measure the distance from the first row of siding to the surface that you want to cover and cut the siding to fit.

To secure the trimmed length of siding over the deck during vinyl siding installation, it’s recommended to nail J-channel along the top of the deck with a strip of plywood backing. This will help ensure that the siding is securely in place and won’t come loose

While you can use rigid foam backing, plywood will provide stronger support. Install the siding next to the deck in the usual way, and then press the cut section into the J-channel.

Step Eleven

If you can’t move the faucet, you may need to cut a hole in the siding to accommodate it. Use a jigsaw to make the cutout, and be sure to measure carefully to ensure a proper fit. Once the siding is cut, slide it into place and secure it with nails or screws. Then, reattach the faucet and any other fixtures that were removed.

Installing 1/2-inch plywood behind the faucet mounting plate instead of the insulation board is recommended when installing siding around a faucet. This provides a solid surface for the mounting screws and prevents the faucet from moving or leaking.

When installing vinyl siding around a faucet, you’ll want to notch the top of the siding panel to fit around the faucet and then slide the panel into place from below. If the faucet is located in the middle of the panel, you’ll need to create a lap joint by overlapping two pieces of siding where they meet at the faucet. This will ensure a tight and secure fit around the faucet.

Finally, slide the notched lengths of siding from the sides into place to complete the installation.

Step Twelve of Installing Vinyl Siding

When you encounter permanent utility equipment such as an external conduit during the vinyl siding installation, it’s recommended to install an insulation backing board around it. Once in place, trim the sides and top with J-channel to create a neat and secure finish. This will also help protect the utility equipment from damage during the siding installation process.

To create a top cap for the J-channel, first cut it to match the flanges of the vertical pieces. Then, create a drip edge by snipping the bottom of the channel 1/2 inch on each side and bending these tabs down. Finally, nail the cap over the vertical pieces to complete the installation.

Step Thirteen of Vinyl Cladding Installation

Add a bead of caulk where the J-channel and the conduit meet to seal any gaps and prevent water infiltration.

Step Fourteen of Vinyl Siding Panel Installation

When you come across a window or door, remove any caulk that may obstruct the installation of new trim. For windows, trim the channel to fit the sill length and secure it in place by nailing. To make the side channels, cut two pieces that are 2 inches longer than the height of the window or door. On the bottom, cut a 1-inch slit on the facing edge and bend the channel inward to form a drip-edge tab, then slide it beneath the sill channel. On the top of the window or door, remove all but the face of the existing trim and nail the new trim to the remaining piece.

Step Fifteen of Installing Vinyl Exterior Siding

To create drip edges for the top channel, cut it 2 inches longer than the window or door width and use the excess. 

Begin by cutting off the back of the channel so that it is flush with the wall. Leave the facing edge long and secure the channel in place. Trim any excess material from the facing edges and create the drip edges as needed.

Step Sixteen of the Vinyl Cladding Installation Process

After installing the insulation backing, you can begin a siding installation, stopping one row away from the bottom of the window. Then, notch the next piece of siding to fit around the window. To reinforce the trimmed section, slide a length of utility trim over it.

Step Seventeen of Installing Vinyl Cladding Panels

After sliding the utility trim over the trimmed section, the next step is to slide the siding in place from below and nail it.

Step Eighteen of Vinyl Cladding Installation

Here’s a slightly shorter rephrased version: Set the siding on the window channel and use the window trim as a guide to mark the cut when installing the siding at the top of a window or door.

Step Nineteen of Vinyl Siding Installation

As the siding nears completion, install utility trim lengths by nailing them to the wall just below the soffit.

Step Twenty of Installing Vinyl Cladding

After nailing the second-to-last row in place, measure the width of the last piece and score the siding lengthwise with a utility knife. Then, break the siding along the scored line.

Step Twenty-One of Installing Vinyl

The siding punch is a more commonly used method to secure the last piece of siding. The siding punch creates locking tabs on the top edge of the siding, which can be easily locked into the utility channel. Once the tabs are formed, you can simply press the siding into place for the tabs to lock in. This method allows for lateral movement and expansion of the siding.

Step Twenty-Two of Installing Vinyl Cladding

Caulking all trim where it meets doors, windows, and utilities is an important final step to ensure that your siding installation is weather-tight and looks professional. 

You can use a high-quality exterior caulk that matches the color of your siding or trim for best results. 

After applying caulk, use a caulk smoothing tool or your finger to even out and create a smooth finish. This will ensure a neat and professional look.

Install Vinyl Siding Vertically or Horizontally?

Horizontal installation is actually the most common way to install vinyl siding. However, it is important to follow proper installation guidelines to ensure that the siding is installed correctly and will last for many years. This includes installing the proper backing, using the correct number and type of nails, and properly overlapping the siding panels.

some homeowners prefer the look of vertical vinyl siding for their homes. However, the installation process for vertical vinyl siding is different from that of horizontal siding. Special J channels, corner posts, and other accessories are required for the installation of vertical siding. It is important to consult with a professional installer or manufacturer’s instructions before attempting to install vertical vinyl siding.

Professional Vinyl Siding Installation Cost in Toronto

The cost of professional vinyl siding installation in Toronto will vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the house, the type of siding, the complexity of the job, and the contractor you choose.

On average, the cost of vinyl siding installation in Toronto can range from $3 to $8 per square foot. 

This means that for a 1,500-square-foot home, the cost of vinyl siding installation can range from $4,500 to $12,000.

The vinyl siding installation cost can fluctuate based on various factors, such as the size of the area to be covered, the type of siding material chosen, the cost of labor, and any additional features or customizations needed.

It’s best to get a detailed price estimation from a reliable siding contractor before starting any siding installation project.

Obtaining quotes from several contractors is advisable to compare prices and ensure that you are receiving a reasonable estimate.

What is the Most Common Mistake When Installing Vinyl Siding?

1. Poor preparation: This includes failure to clean and level the surface before installation. Any debris or unevenness can cause the siding to buckle or shift.

2. Overdriving nails: Overdriving nails can cause the siding to warp or buckle, and also weaken the hold of the siding.

3. Underdriving nails: Underdriving nails can cause the siding to come loose or become wavy, which can compromise the overall appearance and durability of the siding.

4. Incorrect spacing: Incorrect spacing between the panels can cause buckling and warping, and can also make the seams more noticeable.

5. Not leaving enough room for expansion and contraction: Vinyl siding can expand and contract with temperature changes, and if there is not enough room left for this movement, it can cause the siding to buckle or warp.

6. Not properly securing starter strips: If starter strips are not securely attached, it can cause the entire siding system to come loose or shift.

7. Improper trim installation: Poorly installed trim can detract from the appearance of the siding and compromise its overall effectiveness in protecting the home.

8. Using incompatible or non-matching products: If you mix and match different brands or types of vinyl siding, you may end up with products that don’t fit together properly or have different rates of expansion and contraction, which can cause problems down the road.